Our Photo of the Week goes to Kariega field guide Chelee Brown for this atmospheric, black and white photograph of a zebra harem. The black and white is a fitting and dramatic expression of this beautiful and wild animal.
What are Zebra Harems?
A harem of zebra usually consists of up to six breeding mares, their foals and a dominant male. There is a hierarchy within the group and each female knows their place. The individual zebra within the harem are very close and protective of each other. If a predator injures one of the group the rest of the harem will attempt to fight to them off using the hooves and teeth.
Why do Zebra Harems Mix with other Grazers?
Zebra are often seen mixing in large groups with other grazers, such as wildebeest, which they do for protection. Large groups provide more eyes and ears and make it harder for a predator to single out a single victim.
Zebra Stripes Are Unique – Like Fingerprints
Each zebra’s stripes are unique – like human fingerprints. Foals are able to recognise their mothers by their stripes. But that is not the only purpose for these attractive and distinctive markings. Zebra stripes play an important role in temperature control and it is believed that the monochrome pattern keeps some insects and flies at bay by throwing off their vision.